Joseph C. Kolars, M.D.
Senior Associate Dean for Education
and Global Initiatives
Professor of Internal Medicine
Joseph C. Kolars, M.D., became the first Senior Associate Dean for Education and Global Initiatives on June 1, 2009. He serves as the Medical School’s lead for the oversight and expansion of our education mission and our global initiatives. In this newly created role, he leads our efforts to adapt and enhance the full spectrum of medical training -- from undergraduate to continuing education to biomedical research education -- and to bring it together with global impact.
Dr. Kolars’ career has been focused on physician education, and he has held a number of leadership roles in education programs for medical students, residents, and fellows, including program director of one of the largest internal medicine residencies in the U.S. His scholarship has largely emphasized educational outcomes, measurements of competency, faculty development, and effective learning venues. Most recently, he has been working with the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education on its Educational Innovations Project that is designed to reform graduate medical education.
He has extensive international experience, including numerous faculty development programs worldwide. He has given lectures or conducted classes in many parts of the globe, including China, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Peru, Germany, Pakistan, South Africa, Ghana, and Vietnam. For more than three years, he lived in Shanghai with his family to establish a new health care system that could also serve as a learning site for local physicians.
A gastroenterologist, Dr. Kolars returned to the University of Michigan from the Mayo Clinic, where he held several positions, including professor of medicine, residency program director in the Department of Internal Medicine, and consultant to the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Since late 2007, he has divided his time between the Mayo Clinic and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, where he works on education systems that will build human resource capacity to transform health. He is continuing his work on these initiatives on behalf of the Gates Foundation.
Dr. Kolars earned his medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1982. He completed his post-graduate training here at the U-M Medical School and then continued at U-M, first as an instructor in the Department of Internal Medicine in 1989, then as an assistant professor in 1991, and as an associate professor with tenure in 1995. Dr. Kolars served as associate chair for Graduate Medical Education and Residency Program Director in the Department of Internal Medicine from 1993 to 1996.
Joseph C. Kolars, M.D.